Sunday, 9 May 2010

Razor’s Ring

2008
Dir. Morgan Hampton

Mild-mannered businessman Scott (Wayne Casey) is abducted by thrill-seeking killers Razor and Julie (Paul Schilens and Lisa Wharton) and taken on a hell-ride into the bowels of a ‘family’ consisting of rapists, murderers and modern day cannibals. Held prisoner, the three are sent to Red (Annie Scott Rogers), an elderly woman and head of the ‘family’, who promises them all freedom. As time passes and the abuse at the hands of their captors becomes more frequent, Razor and Julie are seemingly released, giving Scott hope that he will also be freed. When that day finally comes and he is positioned as the ‘honoured guest’ at a feast Red has prepared, Scott thinks his nightmare is finally over. He should really think again though…

After an intriguing opening that snares one’s attention and curiosity, in which a man is abducted at gunpoint by two dangerous thrill-seekers who then run over and kill an elderly man, Razor’s Ring twists and turns into a very different film. By turning the tables on the murderous couple so soon into the film, director Hampton offers the audience hope for an interesting and unpredictable ride; however the film eventually descends into drawn out and at times laborious scenarios featuring Scott being reprimanded by Red or some of her cronies for stepping out of line and gradually realising that all is not as it seems at the homestead. This film may have packed more of a punch as a short and the plot often feels overly padded out to lengthen the running time.

Its low budget and grisly subject matter aligns Razor’s Ring alongside the likes of Skare, 2000 Maniacs and Pete Walker’s vastly superior ‘family-of-cannibals’ film Frightmare. The double sting in the tail is signposted well enough to ensure it lacks the shocks it was presumably aiming for. Tighter editing and better sound effects could have enhanced the various fight sequences and at times the digital photography is very uneven. However, the film is still rather compelling at times, and some fun is had with the cannibal angle – even though the audience will most likely see it coming, the filmmaker’s have the sense to realise this and have a little fun with it.

The central characters aren’t particularly likeable, even mild-mannered Scott who is immediately set up as the protagonist, is frequently depicted as being somewhat weak, ineffectual and rather pathetic. The performances are uniformly adequate if a little unremarkable, with Annie Scott Rogers standing out as the murderous wheelchair-bound matriarch Red. The special effects, with the exception of a couple of instances when CGI is employed, are mainly practical and in-camera, and as effective as one would expect given the meagre budget. To bolster its low budget aesthetic, the score, courtesy of Thomas Ganmor, at times exhibits a distinct John Carpenteresque quality.

A number of interesting twists and turns should maintain viewers’ interest, and though the film doesn’t really offer anything startlingly fresh or exciting, it is still a commendable attempt from first time director Hampton, who keeps the story ticking over and always fluid.

RAZOR’S RING (cert. 18) was released on DVD (£12.99) by MVM Entertainment on 3rd May 2010.

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